I think I’ve given as much consideration to what it would take to have a meaningful study of what the Administration did with its illegal wiretapping program as anyone (though also see this piece on immunity from Brian Beutler, one of the last pieces he did before he got shot last week). And I gotta say–the fact that DNI Mike McConnell and AG Michael Mukasey claim they’d advise Bush to veto the bill if it included Jeff Bingaman’s amendment–holding off on giving the telecoms immunity until after the IG study mandated by the bill was completed–makes me rather suspicious that Bush intends to spike the IG investigation (h/t Spencer).
As we have previously noted, any FISA modernization bill must contain effective legal protections for those companies sued because they are believed to have helped the Government prevent terrorist attacks in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.
H.R. 6304 contains such protection, but the amendment would reportedly foreclose an electronic communication service provider from receiving retroactive [immunity] until 90 days after the Inspectors General of various departments, as required by section 301 of H.R. 6304, complete a comprehensive review of, and submit a final report on, communications intelligence activities authorized by the President between September 11, 2001, and January 17, 2007. The final report is not due for a year after the enactment of the bill. Any amendment that would delay implementation of [immunity] in this manner is unacceptable. Providing prompt liability protection is critical to the national security. Accordingly, we, as well as the President’s other advisors, will recommend that the President veto any bill that includes such an amendment.
Now, I’d be charitable and buy Mike amd Mike’s claim that they’re just worried about a delay. Except that they make this completely cynical bid to suggest that the SSCI’s review of the program was adequate to expose what really happened with this program.
Deferring a final decision on retroactive [immunity] for 15 months while the Inspectors General complete the review required by H.R. 6304 is also unnecessary. The Senate Intelligence Committee conducted an extensive study of the issue, which included the review of the relevant classified documents, numerous hearings, and testimony. Read more